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Rampant sexual violence continues on second day of Eid
Courtesy: Melody Patry
 

Violent incidents of sexual harassment continued unabated on the second day of Eid celebrations, according to a report issued by the “I Saw Harassment” initiative.

The report cited 16 incidents of physical abuse on Tuesday, 10 of which it categorized as sexual harassment cases, including three instances of mob sexual assault.

“I Saw Harassment” volunteers were able to prevent four sexual assaults, according to the report, which went on to say that all victims refused to file police reports, though one did demand a personal apology from her assailant.

Despite the fact that most victims were accompanied by male members of their families, 14 additional incidents of verbal harassment were reported in downtown Cairo on Tuesday, as well as seven cases in Kafr al-Sheikh, the report said.

One woman was reportedly pulled out of her car on downtown Cairo’s Talaat Harb Street by a mob of over 50 people, who attempted to break the passenger seat window in order to reach the woman and assault her. “I Saw Harassment” volunteers cordoned off the car until they were able to safely leave the street with the victim, the report said.

The initiative criticized the lack of security presence in city streets in the morning and afternoon, particularly after several sexual harassment cases had already been reported on Monday, the first day of the Eid holidays.

“Even those who were present ignored what was happening in front of them and didn’t intervene in any way to combat the sexual harassment incidents,” the report claimed.

While security presence did intensify in downtown Cairo after sunset, in Kafr al-Shaikh the initiative accused undercover security forces of hindering its volunteers’ efforts.

Families and women in downtown Cairo were eager to listen to the volunteers’ awareness messages, the report said, despite ridicule from teenagers passing by in the street.

The report also noted that victims preferred to resort to the help of “I Saw Harassment” volunteers rather than security forces.

On Monday, the initiative documented 13 sexual harassment cases in Cairo, three of which were carried out by mobs, mostly near the Nile Corniche and the Egyptian Museum off of Tahrir Square. Police reports were filed at the police station in two cases.

On June 5, a law criminalizing sexual harassment came into effect, with a minimum six-month jail sentence and LE3,000 fine for offenders.

A police force dedicated to combating violence against women was established by the Ministry of Interior in May to fight sexual violence and harassment.

On July 16, nine defendants received prison sentences ranging from 20-25 years for brutally assaulting a woman in Tahrir Square on the day of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s inauguration. A video of the incident was uploaded to the Internet, spurring a wave of rage among activists.

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